Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 8 November 2008

A random selection of clippings
from newspapers and magazines

Alice Mangold performs at the
Beethoven Rooms, Harley Street,
London, Wednesday, 10 June 1863

Alice Mangold

Alice Mangold (Alice M. Diehl, 1844-1912),
English musician and novelist

(photo: Cundall, Downes & Co, London, 1863/64)

'The first of these performances took place last night in the Beethoven Rooms, Harley-street. The programme consisted largely of single vocal pieces sung by Mdlle. Elvira Behrens, Mdlle. Louise van Noorden, Miss Eleanora Wilkinson, Signor Severini, and Mr. F. D'Alquen. The selection, which was of a varied and pleasing character, was interspersed with some excellent instrumental performances - Herr Goffrie, one of our best violinists, contributing a brilliant solo by De Beriot, Herr Lidel a fantasia on the violoncello, and Herr Gollwick sustaining the pianoforte part in Schumann's quartett [sic]. One of the chief features of the concert, however, was the pianoforte playing of Miss Alice Mangold. This young lady, a pupil of Adolph Henselt, plays with a refinement and grace of style and finished execution that are rare in these days of hasty preparation and premature display. In Beethoven's charming pianoforte trio in B flat (the one with the variations on ''Pria che l'impegno'') Miss Mangold displayed a thorough appreciation of classical music, and an aptitude for concertante playing that is not always possessed by solo performers - while, in a study of Henselt's, and a Gavotte and Musette by Bach (the latter piece enthusiastically encored), Miss Mangold was equally admirable in the modern romantic bravura style and the close sequential formalism of the elder classic. Such thoroughly satisfactory playing as that of Miss Mangold denotes a high order of musical intelligence, and a careful and elaborate training, that should gain for this young lady a special place among pianists.'
(The Daily News, London, Thursday, 11 June 1863, p. 2c)

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The Magic Flute
at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh,
November 1874, with
Louise Singelli, Alwina Valleria,
Maria Risarelli, Mathilde Bauermeister,
Madame Demeric-Lablache, Zelia Trebelli-Bettini, et al

Maria Risarelli

Maria Risarelli

(photo: Elliott & Fry, London, early 1870s)

'MOZART'S last, and in Beethoven's opinion his greatest opera, whose melodies were familiar to our grandparents, has of late years again come into much favour in Britain. In London it forms an indispensable part of the répertoire of each opera-house, and since its revival in Edinburgh in March 1869, it has been repeated here every season. Our opera-goers are tolerably familiar with its strange dramatis personæ and the mazes of its plot. It has been matter of astonishment that a libretto containing such a tissue of absurdities, and so few dramatic points capable of being worked into a musical design, should have inspired some of the most beautiful and even the most profound music that Mozart has written. One is driven to suppose that the musician must have seen something more in the story than mere melodramatic folly. A recent German pamphleteer has put forth au sérieux the theory that Die Zauberflöte was the apotheosis of Freemasonry against the political and ecclesiastical influences which where arrayed against it - that Freemasonry was indicated by the temple of Isis and Osiris, Monostatos signified the clerical party, Tamino was Joseph II., and the Queen of the Night, Maria Theresa! While it is certain that no such nonsense was in Mozart's head, it is hardly possible to question that he recognised some allegorical significance in the story which is not very apparent to us. Doubts have lately been thrown on the common belief that the libretto is due to the playwright Schickaneder; and there is some reason to suspect that it was, in part at least, written by one Gieseke, an actor and chorus singer from Brunswick, who, though earning a humble subsistence in Schickeneder's theatre, was a man of talent and culture. Goethe, it is known, saw a depth of meaning hidden under the vagaries of Die Zauberflöte, and he was at the pains to write a second part to it, taking up the story from the union of Tamino and Pamina, and treading of the vicissitudes of fortune encountered by their infant child, enchanted by the Queen of the Night; the powers of darkness being too strong for his parents to regain him, he escapes altogether from the earth by an ethereal process. It is to be regretted that it is found necessary in this country to disguise Die Zauberflöte in an Italian dress. The spoken dialogue which in the original German alternates with the music, besides being a help to the comprehension of the story, is after its fashion well written and amusing. The substituted Italian recitative does away with the spontaneity of the ''Singspiel,'' leaves out some scenes essential to the development of the plot, and curtains the quaint humour of others. Die Zauberflöte failed last night to attract so full a house as it usually does, owing, perhaps, to the absence of Mdlle. Tietjens from the cast. The cast, however, was in most repects a good one, and contained a considerable amount of novelty. The representative of the Queen of the Night was Mdlle. [Louise] Singelli, who made her début among us on this occasion. She has a soprano voice of good quality and moderate power, rather inclining to be hard than sympathetic, but bright and clear in the upper register; and her appearances is prepossessing. She entered quite into the traditions of her part, and sang both bravuras with considerable execution and correct intonation, omitting the high F in the former and transposing the latter a tone. She won in each the applause of the audience, and in the latter an encore. The Pamia was Madame Roze, a lady who is not quite a stranger to us, inasmuch as she appeared once before on our stage, giving a very good impersonation of Margaret in Faust. Notwithstanding the disadvantage under which any other artist must appear in a part which we have been accustomed to see tilled by the great prima donna of the day, Madame Roze produced a decidedly favourable impression. Her voice is pure and equal, her intonation perfect, her phrasing good, she sings with feeling and understanding, and her acting is well studied and refined. In ''La Dove prende,'' which was encored; in her only solo, ''Ah lo so;'' in the trio with Tamino and Sarastro, ''Dunque il mio ben non vedrò più;'' when singing with the three genii, and in the final duet with Tamino, she roused much enthusiasm. Tamino was not so satisfactorily personated by Signor Paladini. That artiste's voice is not of a very fine or pleasing quality, but he sang with an intelligent appreciation of his part - both in his two principal solos and in the concerted music.

Alwina Valleria

Alwina Valleria (1848-1925),
American soprano

(photo: Elliott & Fry, London, early 1870s)

'For Papageno we had, as on two former occasions, Signor Catalani, who sang his music well, and his representation of the part has somewhat improved since we first saw it. He was rather tame in ''Ecce qui l'accellatore,'' but very effective in ''La dove prende,'' and warmed more to his part in the second act. In ''Colomba o tortorella'' he was encored, and he pleased the audience greatly in the scene where he appears rope in hand prepared for self-destruction, and in the always popular and inevitably encored duet with his innamorata. Mlle. Valleria, who has formally filled the rôle of the Queen of the Night, was on this occasion the Papagena, and gave a very pleasant representation of that little part. Her disguise of figure and voice as an old woman was perfect, but we could not help regretting, as we always do, the omission of the first rencontre with the bird-catcher, where the ''Achtzehn Jahr und Zwei Minuten'' comes out with such delightful drollery in the German original. She sang with great vivacity in the final duet. Signor Rinaldini was a passable Monostatos; his one solo, ''Regna Amor,'' was swell sung, and its peculiar semiquaver accompaniment satisfactorily played. Signor Giulio Perkin personated the High Priest of Isis, was unexceptionable as to appearance and get#45;up, and sung the music of his part well and intelligently, particularly the prayer to Isis and Osiris. In ''Qui Sdegue,' notwithstanding his imperfect intonation of the concluding low E, he carried the audience with him, and had an enthusiastic encore. The chief difficulty attending the representation of Die Zauberflöte is the number of minor parts, on the proper representation of which entirely depends the success of some of the finest concerted pieces in the opera. Last night these small parts were nearly all given to thoroughly competent artistes. The trios of the Ladies of the Queen and the Genii were better sung than we ever heard them in Edinburgh. The former were in the hands of Madame Valleria, Madame Risarelli, and Madame Trebelli-Bettini; while Mdlle. Bauermeister and Madame Demeric-Lablache were two of the Genii. The beautiful quintet ''Dove ohimò'' was omitted. The choruses were generally well sung, those for male voices only best. The orchestra played the overture and accompaniments well. The dressers were good, but the scenery was about the poorest and most defective with which we ever saw this opera represented.'
(The Scotsman, Edinburgh, Scotland, Wednesday, 11 November 1874, p. 6f)

Zelia Trebelli

Zelia Trebelli-Bettini (1838-1892),
French mezzo soprano, as Carmen,
which she sang in New York and London in 1884/85

(photo: Elliott & Fry, London, circa 1885)

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Empire Palace vaudeville season,
Edinburgh, June 1911, with
Fred Kitchen, the Eight Germania Girls,
Fatmah Diard, and
Pip Powell and Katie Vesey et al

Fatmah Diard

Fatmah Diard (fl. early 20th Century),
American contralto

(photo: unknown, England, probably 1910)

'Both performances at the Theatre-Royal were well attended last night when the second week of the Empire Palace vaudeville season was entered upon. The principal item on the programme was a ketch entitled ''Persevering Potts,'' presented by Mr Henry Darnley's company. The piece has been written to amuse, and with Mr Fred Kitchen, the well-known comedian, in the principal part, that quality is not lacking. He had the assistance of a large company, all of whom did their best to make the production a success, and the comedy was beautifully staged. The Eight Germania Girls gave an interesting performance. It was chiefly military in character. The company had been well drilled, and their evolutions, which were extremely graceful, were smartly executed. In addition they sang nicely. Miss Fatmah Diard, an American soprano, charmed the audience with her singing, her rendering of ''Scenes that are brightest,'' being exceptionally good. A musical comedy by Mr Pip Powell and Miss Katie Vesey was greatly enjoyed. Both are smart dancers, and the lady sings well. Mr Adam Tomlinson, a Tyneside comedian, proved himself a first-class entertainer. His stories were excellent, and the audience thoroughly endorsed his statement that he was ''not a bad turn.'' A blind musician, Mr George Young, is a master of the concertina. Miss Felo Curran, a good singer and clever dander; and Mr Torbay gave an amusing silhouette exhibition.'
(The Scotsman, Edinburgh, Scotland, Tuesday, 6 June 1911, p. 10e)

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